Have you ever wondered how much water accumulates when it rains? A lot!
In fact, from one-inch of rainfall — which is equivalent to a couple of hours of heavy downpour — it’s already possible to collect approximately 600 gallons of water. That’s more than enough to cover the 300 gallons that an average American family uses per day.
Additionally, that estimate is just based on 1,000-square foot roofs. If you have a 4,500 square foot lot — about the size of a large single-family house — you can harvest around 2,800 gallons of water. If you own a commercial property, you could be saving millions of gallons of potable water each year through rainwater harvesting — which could realistically take 40-50% off your water bill!
Why do you need to consider rainwater harvesting for your home or business? Sure, you can get a considerable amount of water from it, but several questions still remain. Among these are:
- How will you benefit from it?
- Is the water even usable or clean?
- Is it worth the time, energy, and money to set up?
10 Reasons To Harvest Rainwater
Let’s take a look at some of the potential benefits you stand to gain from rainwater harvesting.
1. Independent Water Supply
Harvested rainwater can essentially take the place of tap water — though there are some caveats when it comes to drinking it. This gives you a substantial and independent supply of water to supplement your household or business.
Since tap water has already been treated and deemed safe to drink, using it for cleaning, watering plants, bathing, and flushing the toilet can be a bit wasteful. It’s generally better to use untreated or non-drinking water for those, especially in light of looming water shortages across the United States.
2. Reduce Water Bills
Rainwater harvesting allows you to use less municipal water. In turn, a decrease in water consumption will reflect well on your utility bills. Depending on your water usage and amount of collected water, this can potentially lead to a large reduction in your water bill.
In fact, the average property can save as much as 40-50% if it uses harvested rainwater.
3. Tax Incentives (Depending On Your State)
Rooftop rainwater harvesting is fully legal in 36 states and legal with restrictions in 14. In the 36 states where harvesting is unrestricted, nine encourage rooftop rainwater harvesting.
In other words, these states incentivize rainwater collection — and these incentives come in the form of tax incentives.
Business owners who collect rainwater can benefit from numerous tax incentive programs. To reap the benefits of these rainwater harvesting incentivization programs, business owners must be in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
4. Conserve and Recharge Groundwater
Reduced municipal water consumption helps conserve groundwater. As the population continues to increase, this translates to a continued rise in demand for groundwater. Due to this rising demand, some places have already started to see extremely low levels of groundwater and experienced water scarcity.
Harvesting rainwater helps reduce the demand for groundwater and conserve the remaining amount. Moreover, it can also be used to help recharge and sustain groundwater levels.
5. Reduce Carbon Footprint
A significant amount of energy is required to heat, treat, pump, transport, and use the water that runs to each building. Whether its water treatment plants or vehicles used to transport water or supplies, all of these have their own carbon footprint as they emit greenhouse gasses.
Using collected rainwater for non-drinking purposes around your home or business means being less reliant on municipal water. This can help reduce the amount of water that needs to be treated, pumped, and more.
6. Prevent Flood and Soil Erosion
Rainwater harvesting can help prevent floods and reduce the likelihood of soil erosion. Since the water that normally runs off to ground is being collected, there will be less water pooling up in low lying areas.
Moreover, plants love rainwater! Rainwater has the right pH balance for plants. Treated potable water may contain chemicals and minerals that are recommended for people, but these are not necessarily what plants need.
7. Easy Maintenance
Maintaining rainwater harvesting systems is less taxing than maintaining traditional water pumping systems. Even if regular maintenance is still necessary, it will not require as much time or energy.
8. Wide Range Of Uses
Harvested rainwater is suitable for a variety of non-drinking purposes without the need for extensive or even any treatment. Simple treatments — such as boiling the water or passing it through a filter — is enough to use it for washing clothes, utensils, or even yourself. Since rainwater is naturally soft, it can actually be much better to use for bathing and washing clothes.
Within your business, harvested water is versatile and can be used in many systems including toilet flushing, irrigation, vehicle washing, urinal usage, cooling, fire sprinkler systems, laundry, and more.
9. Not Limited To Just Rainwater
Rainwater harvesting setups can also be used on other water sources aside from rain. A good example of this is air conditioner condensate.
Running a line or pipe from your AC to your rainwater collecting barrel can give you about 50 gallons of water weekly if you use your AC a lot. This can come in handy during the hot summers with little to no rain — especially since the water can be used for your garden.
10. A Barometer For Water Usage
Rooftop rainwater harvesting doesn’t just give homeowners and business owners an alternative water source. It can also clue them in on how much water they use.
Rainwater is typically collected in vats or tanks, which will have a limited storage capacity.
The limited capacity will prompt homeowners and business owners to measure water levels in varying time increments. Doing this shows them how much water they consume. The data is valuable for guiding homeowners and business owners on how they can economize their water use.
How Clean Is Rainwater?
There are a lot of benefits and possible uses for rainwater, but the question remains: is it clean to drink or cook with? The short answer is both yes and no.
Collected rainwater on its own isn’t clean or safe to drink — especially not right out of a rainwater harvesting barrel or tank. Untreated rainwater can carry various contaminants, bacteria, and chemicals that it comes into contact with as it falls from the sky, accumulates on your roof, and passes through your pipe or gutter.
However, it can be safe to drink if it is treated appropriately. It’s also best to use appropriate roof coatings to help decrease harmful chemical contaminants that may negatively affect your health.
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Castagra's Ecodur+ Roof Coating is practically made for rainwater harvesting. Not only is our signature roof coating 100% sustainable, VOC-free, and highly durable — it’s also ANSI/NSF-61 certified. This means the roof coating is certified safe to come into contact with drinking water and food.
Thanks to our NSF-61 certified Ecodur+ Roof Coating, this Vancouver distillery is able to use rainwater to make their spirits. After passing a series of filters, the rainwater is safe for consumption and used to brew delicious alcohol.
The Bottom Line
Rainwater harvesting is not overly complicated. It offers numerous advantages for your business or household. As long as you store your rainwater carefully and keep the water clear, you can have large amounts of clean, usable water for a variety of uses.
If you’re considering trying it out, make sure you're using the best materials on your roof, so you can turn your collected rainwater into safe drinking water. Contact Castagra today to learn more about our Ecodur+ Roof Coating and how it may help improve your rainwater harvesting setup.
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